Tag Archives: Le Mans

Bounty Lake (Etang des Chères), Sarthe Department, Sunday 29th December 2013

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Lovely sunny and warm Sunday at Bounty Lake

Lovely sunny and warm Sunday at Bounty Lake

 

We’ve decided to try out this lake about 6 miles (9km) south of Le Mans to see if Adonis is a bit more successful with his fishing, as he hasn’t been very lucky lately. We have provisionally booked for 2 days, but might push another night if weather holds. It’s very quiet here and the British couple in charge, Bob and Les, are very friendly and welcoming. We have water, electricity, a hot shower, the sun has been shining all day and it felt quite warm in the van without any heating until now, 5.30pm, so it’s been a good day.

 

Fishing at last!

Fishing at last!

 

This is, however, the first nice day we’ve had since we left home on Thursday morning, as the weather turned very windy and wet in the evening at Wissant, with the van rocking in the middle of the night, waking us up. In the morning, we saw a branch from one of the trees behind the van had been broken off and had caught in the branches of the adjacent tree, so lucky it didn’t damage either the motorhome or the house in whose garden it stood.

 

A very windy night at Wissant left us this broken branch behind motorhome

A very windy night at Wissant left us this broken branch behind motorhome

 

We followed the same route south as in October half-term, stopping at the motorhome aire at Buchy, just north of Rouen, as we had really liked it then. As we arrived by lunchtime, we took Beano for his afternoon walk through the market town, but as we got to the centre, he was spooked by something and, while I was taking pictures of the market place and Christmas decorations, he managed to pull the lead off Adonis’s hand and I saw him running for his life in the middle of the road heading straight for an on-coming car. I screamed and Adonis waved his arms about to stop the traffic and Beano ran to the pavement, heading uphill back to the M.H. Aire. I ran after him, but he was too far in front and I would have never caught him if it hadn’t been for a kind young couple who saw him coming and luckily stopped him and kept him until I got to them, breathless but relieved to have got him back safe. So we took him back to the van and left him there with his food and water and we went out again to enjoy a coffee at one of the local bars and to continue taking photos of this charming little town. I think that from now on we will remember Buchy as the place where Beano ran off and I nearly had a heart attack!

 

Beano on the lead before he ran off

Beano on the lead in Buchy before he ran off

 

 A Christmassy Buchy

A Christmassy Buchy

 

Welcome to Buchy

Welcome to Buchy

 

The old market place at Buchy

The old market place at Buchy

 

 

Buchy's Townhall

Buchy’s Townhall

 

On Saturday morning, we bought our baguette and cake from one of the boulangeries in town and continued on south, still round the north and eastern side of Rouen, as the Pont Mathilde is still closed until the summer of 2014, and followed the usual route down to Alençon on the D438 and from there on the D338 to La Hutte, where we headed west for about 4 miles on the D310 to Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, where we stopped at the motorhome aire by the circus school which John and Julie had told us about, right by the old railway station. This was very pleasant, but the water had been turned off, so we bought 2 5-gallon bottles of water at the nearby Le Mutant supermarket, just to be on the safe side.

 

Motorhome aire by circus school at Fresnay-sur-Sarthe

Motorhome aire by circus school at Fresnay-sur-Sarthe

 

Once again, we went to explore the town, but this time we kept a firm grip on Beano’s lead and we even carried him in our arms for a bit when we was reluctant to walk and was pulling back too much.

 

The river Sarthe had burst its banks

The river Sarthe had burst its banks

 

We were amazed to see that the river Sarthe had burst its banks again and quite a few houses seemed to have their gardens and outbuilding under water or badly flooded, so we were worried that Bounty lake, just a few miles down the road, might be the same, but luckily we are all right here.

 

A flooded Fresnay-sur-Sarthe

A flooded Fresnay-sur-Sarthe

 

Flooded gardens and outbuildings

Flooded gardens and outbuildings

 

Flooded Fresnay-sur-Sarthe

Flooded Fresnay-sur-Sarthe

 

Fresnay-sur-Sarthe is a really charming town and we have fond memories of our first summer holiday in the van back in 2010 when we watched the Football Worldcup final between Spain and Holland and how friendly the campsite manager had been, giving out free beers to everyone. We hadn’t come back since, so I am glad we have now, and we should return again in the summer and enjoy a swim in the river, like we did with Pepo and Bramble 3 years ago.

 

Walking in charming Fresnay-sur-Sarthe

Walking in charming Fresnay-sur-Sarthe

 

Today’s been a short drive from Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, back on the D338 and round Le Mans, past the 24-hour racing circuit and back on the D338 to Lake Bounty. We arrived by 11am, with plenty of time for mid-morning coffee and cake, showers and even fishing before lunch!

 

Our parking spot at Lake Bounty, just a few meters away from the fishing area

Our parking spot at Lake Bounty, just a few meters away from the fishing area

 

We hope the weather holds so that we can keep on enjoying the walks around the lake, the fishing and, most importantly, relaxing in the sun.

Oudon, Loire-Atlantique, Friday 25th October 2013

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Oudon, on the River Loire

Oudon, on the River Loire

 

We started our half-term holiday last Saturday morning, 19th October, and, after an uneventful crossing in the Eurotunnel, where we enjoyed a quick sandwich, we made our way to Boulogne-sur-Mer (junction 31 on A160 for our usual shopping at Auchan. As it had already been a long drive from home in Bognor Regis, we decided to stay on the motorway and followed the A28 south of Abbeville to junction 9 and on to the motorhome aire at Buchy on the D928 and D41, about 15 miles north east of Rouen.

 

The well maintained and pleasant aire at Buchy

The well maintained and pleasant aire at Buchy

 

Buchy’s is a very pleasant aire by the car park at the sports centre (Parking Salle des Sports), Route des Fourges, and near the college. The book says it has 4 pitches but we reckon that there’s room for double that number. It is free, with a borne for water and electricity for 2.50. The pitches are on hard standing and there is no clear division between them but they are surrounded by well maintained grass and it’s perfectly adequate for an overnight stay. As it was already late afternoon, we didn’t do very much other than walk Beano, our new puppy, and eat our flammekueche (or Tarte Flambée), which is a lovely alternative to pizza.

 

As we have our new puppy with us, we had to get up early for toilets, etc and were ready to leave Buchy before 9 am on our way to the aire at Montbizot, still travelling on the eastern bank of the River Seine at Rouen, as Pont Mathilde on the western side is still shut for repairs until the summer of 2014! So we followed the D6015 to Junction 21 of A13 west to J. 24 by Château de Robert Le Diable and then the usual route past Bernay, Broglie, Sées, Alençon and Beaumont-sur-Sarthe.

 

Montbizot is half way between Beaumont-sur-Sarthe and Le Mans and we made it there by 12.30 pm, as the roads were empty, being a Sunday morning. We had a heavy downpour for a bit, but it was still warm and pleasant for walking by the river Sarthe. This was another quiet afternoon, followed by a delicious Parmentier de Canard bought at Auchan, which only required heating up in the oven.

 

From Montbizot, we carried on south to our main destination of this break at tried and tested and very much loved Lac des Varennes, near Château-du-Loir on the D338 and D305.

 

Beautiful and reliable Lac des Varennes

Beautiful and reliable Lac des Varennes and Adonis inspecting his ‘swim’

 

As this is our seventh visit to this wonderful campsite and Base de Loisirs, there is nothing much new to say except that this time John and Julie, whom we met in the summer holidays at the aire in Bourget-du-Lac, came to meet us there and we spent 3 wonderful days with them and their daughter, Hannah, and her boyfriend, Adrian. So we shared some lovely food, including a most delicious Confit de Canard with Saute Potatoes courtesy of our friends, and, of course, plenty of cheese and wine!

 

A very happy Adonis with his 19lb (9kg) carp.  Photo courtesy of John D.  Southworth

A very happy Adonis with his 19lb (9kg) carp. Photo courtesy of John D. Southworth

 

On Tuesday night, at around 11 pm, Adonis finally caught a 19lb carp (roughly 9 Kg), which made it even more special for him, as he hadn’t caught anything at Easter or in the summer holidays. Unfortunately the flash on my camera went on strike and I had to rely on John to take pictures with his mobile phone.  Thank you John!

 

Enjoying the warm sun at Lac des Varennes

Enjoying the warm sun at Lac des Varennes

 

Wednesday was quite a warm day and we spent it outdoors most of the time, just enjoying the sun and the peace of the place this time of year, when Beano can run freely as there’s no-one around.

 

Beano running freely and chasing his ball at Lac des Varennes

Beano running freely and chasing his ball at Lac des Varennes

 

Yesterday started overcast but it cleared after lunch and Adrian, Hannah and Julie enjoyed a paddle in our inflatable boat around the lake, of which we are very pleased, as we hadn’t used it yet on this holiday. That was followed by some refreshing beers and snacks by John and Julie’s pitch, where we decided to move from our usual fishing area when Adonis decided he didn’t want to fish any more. So we packed the van and up we drove to the drier area near the only open shower block closer to the reception area.

 

Adrian and Hannah enjoying a paddle in the lake

Adrian and Hannah enjoying a paddle in the lake

 

We left this morning after saying our goodbyes and hoping to meet up at Easter again and we were on the road again for 9.30 am. We did a quick shop at Leclerc in Château-du-Loir and headed slightly south west on D766 past north of Angers on A11 to J. 20 with the intention of stopping at the aire at Le Celier, which is supposed to be behind the church and have room for 5 motorhomes but it is non existent. We were annoyed at this, as it was already 1 pm and we hadn’t stopped at all since leaving Leclerc, so we turned back on our heels on D723 to Oudon and here we are, right by the river Loire and just outside the 2* campsite of La Tour, which is now shut until June 14.

 

The Tour at Oudon, seen from Camping de la Tour

The Tour at Oudon, seen from Camping de la Tour

 

There is a well-maintained motorhome aire at the entrance of the campsite with running water and emptying facilities and it’s free but we are in the general car park, closer to the river, only a few metres from the aire itself.

 

Parked outside Camping de la Tour

Parked outside Camping de la Tour

 

I enjoyed a walk with Beano around the campsite and down to the river bank, which seems to be very popular with the locals.

 

Exploring the walk path at Oudon along the River Loire

Exploring the walk path at Oudon along the River Loire

 

Tomorrow, we’re heading for Carnac on our first ever visit to Brittany. I am really looking forward to discovering a new region in this beautiful and amazing country.

 

 

La Suthe-sur-Sarthe, Monday 17th December 2012

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This is going to be our first Christmas travelling in the motorhome and we hope to make it as far as Arles, Provence, as our final destination before turning back, but, as always, nothing is written in stone and we’re willing to change our plans on the go if necessary.

We left England last Saturday 15th on the Channel Tunnel as usual and were in Calais just before 3 pm.  We did our shopping at Cité Europe and were at Wissant aire for 4.30 pm with only one other motorhome to keep us company: a far cry from last August when we were lucky to get  a space.  It must have been raining quite heavily here too, as the field opposite the aire where we usually go for our dog walk was waterlogged and difficult to walk on.  Still, it was a dry and pleasant evening and the feeling of freedom at being away is always comforting, whatever the weather.

We had another downpour overnight, which kept me awake for a bit, but Adonis managed a long dry walk on the beach with Sasha, our new four-legged travelling companion, before the rains started again.

As usual, we followed the A16 and A28 south to Rouen and we were making good time until we came across the signs north of the city indicating that the bridge over the Seine was shut and we had to find an alternative route.  We followed some signs to Le Mans, which eventually disappeared in true French fashion and ended up on the A150 and A151 heading north again!!!  We got off at Tôtes and headed west towards Yvetot on D929 and then south on D131 to Pont de Brotonne and finally made the decision to stop at St Nicolas de Bliquetuit for the rest of the day, as it was already 2 pm.

 

Although our original intention was to stop at Broglie aire for the night, we quite welcomed the sudden change of plans, as the view from the free aire is just stunning, right on the river Seine, especially with all the Christmas lights and decorations.

 

View of St Nicolas de Bliquetuit from motorhome aire

View of St Nicolas de Bliquetuit from motorhome aire

 

 

Our Festive Motorhome

Our Festive Motorhome

 

Sasha and I enjoyed a long walk along the river bank and I never tire of admiring such beautiful view.  I took a lot of photos, of course, both of the town and our festive decorated motorhome, full of tinsel and baubles.

 

Lovely walk along the river Seine

Lovely walk along the river Seine

 

Motorhome aire at St Nicolas de Bliquetuie

Motorhome aire at St Nicolas de Bliquetuie

 

Gorgeous sunset

Gorgeous sunset

 

 

The view of St Nicolas de Bliquetuit at night.

The view of St Nicolas de Bliquetuit at night.

 

 

Our festive motorhome

Our festive motorhome

 

 

Relaxing before dinner

Relaxing before dinner

 

We were on our way by 9.30 this morning still headed south on D913/313 to junction 25 of A13 and south on A28, all the way to north of Le Mans, where we joined the A11 southwest to J9 for la Suthe-sur-Sarthe.

 

A very full river Sarthe by the motorhome aire at La Suthe-sur-Sarthe

A very full river Sarthe by the motorhome aire at La Suthe-sur-Sarthe

 

 

A very swollen river Sarthe

A very swollen river Sarthe

 

We were on our way by 9.30 this morning still headed south on D913/313 to junction 25 of A13 and south on A28, all the way to north of Le Mans, where we joined the A11 southwest to J9 for la Suthe-sur-Sarthe.

We love this wonderful aire and we’ve been here in all kinds of weather, but this is the first time that we have found it flooded in some parts, as the river is all the way up to the landing bays and the swim where Adonis was fishing last summer is completely under water, so no fishing today!

We have decided to move away from the river bank and we are actually parked in the ‘proper’ motorhome aire, right by the campsite, which is shut this time of year.  The fee is still €3 a day, which usually includes electricity and water, except that due to the ‘ freezing’ weather the water supply has been cut off even though it is not cold at all, just wet.  Still, we are not complaining as we have plenty of water and we can always fill up somewhere else when needed.

We’ve just been for a coffee and a beer in the village, followed by another dog walk along the river Sarthe and it feels just as charming and magical as the first time we came.

We are off to somewhere in the Loire tomorrow….

Beaumont-sur-Sarthe, Sunday 26th August 2012

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This charming little village is part of the Association des Petites Cités de Caractère de la Sarthe and we’ve been meaning to stop here ever since we’ve been driving up and down this road from Alanҫon to Le Mans.  We are glad we’ve finally made time for it on this long journey, which is slowly coming to an end, as we haven’t been disappointed.

 

Municipal campsite at Beaumont-sur-Sarthe

 

The campsite is immaculately kept, with generous size pitches, access for disabled people to the washing facilities and shower block.  It’s very quiet and peaceful, even though it has plenty of space and a large playground area for children.  The site is right on the river Sarthe, with easy access for fishing and just a few minutes’ walk from the shops and town centre.  The receptionist, Maria Dolores, is very friendly and chatty and speaks several languages, including Spanish, Italian and English, so we had a nice chat in Spanish for a change.  I later discovered she’s half Spanish, from Jaén, and half Italian, so I really enjoyed meeting someone from my own country and having a laugh together.

Our generous pitch at Beaumont-sur-Sarthe campsite

We arrived yesterday morning after a short drive on the A11 from La Suze-sur-Sarthe at junction 9 to J.7, which continued north on the A28, so we avoided the congested ring-road at Le Mans and came off at J.21 for Beaumont-sur-Sarthe.

 

Access for the disabled to shower and washing facilities block

 

We didn’t do much yesterday apart from walking around this lovely campsite and a gentle stroll into town to buy bread and cakes.  I think the thought of going back to work is weighing on us now and we’re trying to make the most of the good weather and tranquillity of this area.

 

Pont Roman at Beaumont-sur-Sarthe

 

This morning, while Adonis was fishing, I went on a tour of the village and followed the guide given to me by Maria Dolores.  I slowly made my way around La Motte and Rue des Promenades to La Place de la Liberation in order to complete the recommended route and not miss anything of importance.  I enjoyed La Porte Romane of L’Eglise Notre-Dame as well as the Pont Roman, of which I took photos.  The views from the Romanic Bridge are very pretty and I spent some time admiring them.  The town itself dates back to the 10th century and it was built within a vast elliptical wall, with some openings being made during the course of history.

 

Porte Romane of Eglise Notre-Dame

 

This is certainly a quaint little town to stop in your travels and it’s well worth a visit, just for its simplicity and tranquillity.

 

I love this house at Beaumont-sur-Sarthe

 

 

House decorated with broken pottery and china

 

Tomorrow  we’ll carry on north towards Alanҫon, where we are planning to do our big shop before we return home and thus stock up on beer, wine, cheeses, salamis and any other local speciality that takes our fancy.

 

Beaumont-sur-Sarthe

 

It’s Bank Holiday weekend in England and several British cars and caravans left the site today, but I’m glad we still have a few days left and don’t have to rush for the crossing.

The weather has mercifully cooled down and we’ve only reached 28°C, which is easier to sleep in.  This is just the ideal temperature for me: very pleasant on the skin without making me feel so lethargic.  I shall miss this in the dark and cold winter months.

 

Beaumont-sur-Sarthe campsite

 

 

Making the most of the sun before leaving Beaumont-sur-Sarthe

 

 

Motorhome facilities at Beaumont-sur-Sarthe campsite

 

Large children playing area at Beaumont-sur-Sarthe campsite

 

Beaumont-sur-Sarthe